South Africa’s minister of health, Dr Zweli Mkhize, made it clear on Tuesday evening that if a resurgence of Covid-19 is to come, South Africa is better prepared.
Responding to a question on whether the country will go back to a hard lockdown, at the fifth annual FORBES AFRICA Philips Future of Health Summit, the minister, who was a guest of honor, stated: “The second Covid-19 wave has not reached us as yet. We are not immediately envisaging a lockdown level 5. We are focusing on containment measures and are encouraging others to do so.”
He emphasized that there will be enough warning “long before” further lockdown measures should a second wave of the pandemic strike.
“The possibility of another surge is a reality but we are prepared,” he said, at the virtual event themed Next Generation Healthcare in South Africa – Balancing Workforce Expectations & Health System Realities.
South Africa moved to alert level one of its lockdown in September after seven months of international and interprovincial travel bans, strict curfew regulations as well as a controversial suspension of alcohol sales. Returning to a hard lockdown would result in a further crippling of South Africa’s already ailing economy.
“Although we have made remarkable progress, we must remember people are still getting infected and people are still losing their lives. By any measure, we are still in the midst of a deadly pandemic,” said President Cyril Ramaphosa after announcing the advancement to level one on September 16.
And though the president is due to address the nation this week to speak about the developments of the country’s risk-adjusted strategy to mitigate the spread of the virus according to Minister in the Presidency, Jackson Mthembu, the health minister has said that South Africa is better prepared for a second wave.